Skip to main content

Ferrari California

Ferrari California Italian supercar

The Ferrari 250 California - launched in 1957 - is one of the most iconic cars ever created. Half a century later, though, came another 'California'. The 2008 model was designed by Pininfarina - the legendary Italian design house. Superb aerodynamics were key to the car's styling. An 'F1-Trac' traction-control set-up helped keep the power usable - especially when exiting bends and corners!

The F1-style Manettino dials on the California's steering-wheel modulated the gearbox, suspension and traction-control settings. Should even their limits be exceeded, an automatic roll bar - and front and side airbags - were deployed. There was a choice of Comfort or Sport modes. At track-days, however, safety controls could be switched off ... apart from ABS braking, that is.

The California produced power in abundance. Its 4,300cc V8 made 460bhp. That catapulted the California to 193mph. Torque was on tap from way down low. A 7-speed semi-automatic transmission saw to that. The California was light - its chassis and body both fashioned from aluminium. Inside, there was a roomy and comfortable cabin. And plenty of luggage-space. The retractable top completed the set of creature comforts. So, like its fabled 250 predecessor, the Ferrari California was built for speed. But - also like that car - it was kitted out for cruising, should that have been what was required.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

FN Four

In terms of breakthroughs in the history of motorcycling, there cannot be many to rival the first in-line four engine. Belgium was the birthplace of this landmark layout. FN was the much-to-be-thanked manufacturer.The FN Four first hit the highway in 1911. It produced 4bhp. That, from a 491 cc capacity. At the time, such figures described state-of-the-art technology. Top speed for the FN Four was 40mph. Not bad - for an 8-valve inlet-over-exhaust set-up. Oh, it was air-cooled.The FN Four was light - tipping the scales at 165lb dry. Not only the motor, but the chassis, too, was avant-garde. It featured an early form of telescopic forks. A new-fangled clutch - and 2-speed 'box - only added to the FN Four's slick box of tricks. Solid shaft-drive output the power. Who, then, designed this visionary vintage? You will not hear the name Paul Kelekom shouted from motorcycling's rooftops. But, you should - for it was he who fashioned the FN Four. In so doing, he ki…

Gilera Saturno

Gilera was a big player in the realm of 1950s motorbike manufacturing. After that, the firm met with mixed fortunes. Gilera's Fifties flagship - the Saturno - was launched in '46. Rolled out in 'Sport', 'Touring', and 'Competition' modes, the Saturno would sell well for years.The Saturno 'production racer' was a hit both on road and track. Competitive for many seasons, it remained so for some time after its production run finished - at the fag-end of the '50s.In road-going form, the Saturno stayed tethered to the tarmac - thanks to its telescopic forks, and vertical rear shocks. Indeed, it would gain a reputation as a 'performance bike' of its day. Towards the end, Gilera was linked with Piaggio, Vespa - and the scooter scene, generally. Illustrious though those names still were, Gilera's glory days were behind it. Bikes like the Saturno, though, still shone a light for past success.

NSU Ro80

The styling of the NSU Ro80 was ahead of its time. At first glance, masses of glass were straight out of science-fiction. Closer inspection revealed the gently rising line of its profile - giving it a low front, high back stance - which would influence automotive design for years to come. The 5-seater body was supremely aerodynamic for a saloon car - making cruising at speed a breeze. So flawless was it outwardly that it was hardly touched in ten years of production. Just the tail-lights were modified, on later versions.The Ro80's handling was equally impressive. FWD - and precision power-steering - kept it perfectly pointed. The long-travel strut suspension soaked up bumps. High-efficiency disc brakes were fitted all round. The 3-speed semi-automatic transmission swept through the gears with aplomb. Top speed was a sound 112mph.But, of course, nothing is perfect. The Ro80 was powered by a twin-rotor Wankel engine. Unfortunately - in a rush to get the car into showroom…